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This article was originally published in the RC Driver’s April 2016 issue.
Hi Tony! I have a HPI Savage Flux HP and want to know if I can use a 3 speed transmission on it. Seems like the same truck so I’m not sure why I can’t. Any help?
William O. Honolulu HI
Hey William- Since both the electric and nitro Savages are basically the same truck, I’m sure it’s possible to install a 3-speed transmission into the Savage Flux HP. But before you do, let me explain why it may be more frustrating than fun. When running correctly, nitro vehicles will have the same powerband from the top of the tank to the bottom, meaning there’s no drop off in power any time until the tank is empty. This means that, when you finally get the 3-speed tuned right, it’s going to be crazy fun-fast the whole time. However, on an electric vehicle, the powerband changes quite drastically from the top of the battery until it dumps. This means that when your battery is full, it will spool up the drivetrain really fast, causing your 3-speed transmission to shift early. When the battery levels out, your shift points will probably be spot on, but when the battery gets low, the shift point will be off again, shifting later and later as the battery gets weaker and weaker. This fluctuation can be quite annoy- ing as it never seems to want to shift correctly. Just something to think about. Good luck!
Hiya Tony. I have a New Bright 1:6 scale Venom buggy 9.6 volt battery. I want to pump up the power by installing a brushless motor. How do I know which system to use and how to do the conversion?
Joe, Sapulpa OK
Hey Joe, While I’m sure it’s possible to boost the power in one of these cars, there are a few factors you might want to take into consideration before attempting a conversion like this. My first concern would be that the New Bright drivetrain is designed to handle a low amount of power, and installing a brushless system will turn the drivetrain to mush in the first five seconds. Next thing is to find out what brush- less system would work. You’ll need to match the motor sizes – if the Venom uses a 280- sized motor, you need a 280-sized brushless system. Then there’s the cost; a decent 280- sized brushless system will run you around $60-$75, a decent 540-sized system some- where near $125 … and that’s on the low end. As you can see, the cost is rising, and we haven’t even checked to see if the receiver is compatible with the brushless system or con- sidered the fact that the tires are probably too hard to create any sort of traction with the newfound power. My suggestion is to keep the Venom like it is and just enjoy it. If you want something faster, save the money, visit your local hobby shop and talk to one of the employees there about a new vehicle. Trust me, you’ll have way more fun in the long run!
Hey Tony. I have a Tamiya Monster Beetle from the 90’s and was looking for the three prong capacitor off the ESC that has two purple and one blue wire going to it. The ESC also has a throttle servo hooked to it. Is it possible to get a different type of ESC too? Thanks!
Micheal Asheboro NC
Hi Micheal, An original Tamiya Monster Beetle, huh? I had the same truck, however mine was the Blackfoot. One of my favorite RC cars of all time! Ok, that capacitor you’re talking about is actually an old school heatsink. It helped pull heat away from the wiper controller while you were driving. If you plan on keeping your Beetle for a while, you have two options. First, you can ditch the wiper controller (and the servo that operates it) in favor of a new ESC. If this is the choice you go with, make sure you get an ESC that works with brushed motors. If you plan on possibly upgrading the motor as well, get an ESC that works with brushed AND brushless motors, or pick up a complete brushless system all at once. The install is pretty simple and will pro- vide you with a TON of new horsepower. Just don’t go overboard – the drivetrains on those older Tamiya models are not designed to handle today’s brutally fast brushless sys- tems. Good luck! —Tony